For Pennsylvanians struggling to make ends meet, an expanded rebate program brings relief - TAI News
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More than half a million Pennsylvanians now qualify to apply for the state’s recently expanded property tax and rent rebate program that will give eligible households up to $1,000 in financial assistance, Gov. Josh Shapiro and other Democratic officials announced at a press conference in Bethlehem on Tuesday.

“I’ve traveled all across the commonwealth, and I’ve heard firsthand from seniors who told me we need to do more to help them keep up with rising prices,” Shapiro said in a press release. “Whether it’s in the Lehigh Valley or out in Erie, rising costs are affecting Pennsylvanians in every corner of our state — and I promised that my administration would lead the way to cut costs and put money back in your pockets.” 

After Shapiro signed House Bill 1100 into law in August, the state’s property tax and rent rebate program was expanded to cover about 175,000 more individuals. Before the Democratic governor signed the legislation, about 400,000 Pennsylvanians were eligible for the program; those individuals remain able to participate. Now a total of approximately 575,000 Pennsylvanians can apply for the revamped program.

This addition of 175,000 more people comes as the new law has increased the program’s income cap to $45,000 a year. Prior to this, the income cap had not been raised since 2006. As of Tuesday, seniors, adults with disabilities, and widowed people who meet the income requirements can apply for a partial refund on the property taxes or rent they paid the previous year. 

The maximum rebate an applicant can receive is now $1,000, up from the previous $650, under the program, which is funded by the state lottery. That maximum amount is for applicants making up to $8,000 a year. Applicants making between $18,001 and $45,000 can receive a rebate of $380.

“Let’s talk about the impact of this historic law,” Democratic state Rep. Steve Samuelson, the main sponsor of H.B. 1100, said during the press conference, which was held at the Litzenberger House, an apartment complex for older people in Bethlehem. “This expansion of the rebate benefits homeowners. It benefits renters. It benefits seniors, and it benefits people with disabilities under the age of 65.”

Samuelson emphasized that there was overwhelming bipartisan support for his legislation, with the state Senate passing it unanimously and the House backing it by a vote of 194-9. All nine House members who voted against it were Republicans. 

Angelina Roque, a Litzenberger House resident, said she has been a participant in the rebate program for years and said it provides much-needed funds for Pennsylvanians who are struggling to make ends meet.

“It definitely enhanced my ability to cover my expenses,” Roque said during the press conference. “Housing is really one of the most expensive items, and we really don’t want to have to make choices between housing and other expenses like medications and groceries. Having this extra boost each year makes me feel more secure and like I am able to continue living as I am in my community.” 

The program’s expansion is welcome, but it is also long overdue, Roque and other speakers at the press conference noted. 

“While we appreciate this program, the expansion has been needed for a long time to keep up more with rising costs,” Roque said.

To see more about the rebate program’s eligibility requirements and to apply online, visit revenue.pa.gov/ptrr or call 1-888-222-9190 for assistance. It is free to apply for a rebate, and applications are available in both English and Spanish. 

Application assistance is available at hundreds of locations across the state, including at Department of Revenue district offices, local Area Agencies on Aging, senior centers, and state legislators’ offices. Applicants must reapply for rebates every year because they are based on annual income and property taxes or rent paid during the prior year.

Rebates will be distributed beginning July 1. The deadline to apply is June 30.

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